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EPSRC DTP Studentship - Cut the scrap! Making next generation car bodies


At present almost half of the sheet metal purchased worldwide to make shaped components is scrapped and re-melted, waste that accounts for over 1% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. Whether driven by regulation, consumer demand or carbon pricing, over the next thirty years, the major users of sheet metal - car, aeroplane, durable goods manufacturers - will all be looking to reduce the embodied emissions of their products

The Use Less Group has been working on this problem for the past four years and filed a patent for a new "folding-shearing" process that could reduce the amount of scrap material during component-making.

This studentship is for someone to develop methods to evaluate the new process and compare it against conventional processes such as deep-drawing. This is usually done by constructing an 'operating window' that indicates - say - the range of product geometries achievable and identifies the various process limits. You will work to rationalise and add structure to the operating window approach for sheet metal forming. For example, by establishing a basis for breaking down target products into features that can be subject to testing and by considering how far results can be scaled geometrically and across different materials.

You will be the first user of a highly flexible sheet metal forming machine based on the "folding-shearing" process. In total the investment into this machine has been worth around £200k. The PhD feeds directly into a major workstream in a large EPSRC research programme and so you will be supported and have access to a large academic community including the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, and multiple players in the supply chain for metal components

By the end of the PhD, we hope that you will have: - Developed existing analytical predictions of wrinkling and tearing from circular geometries to more general forms as a basis for a new generalised approach to predicting process operating windows; - Characterised the operating window of the novel folding-shearing process using the new machine, in order to anticipate the extent to which it can reduce sheet metal scrap compared to conventional deep-drawing; - Provided new insights into the design of future sheet-forming processes with expanded operating windows; - Participated fully in the UK FIRES industrial and academic consortium.

Applicants should have (or expect to obtain by the start date) at least a good 2.1 degree in an Engineering or related subject.

Relevant industrial experience would be an advantage.

EPSRC DTP studentships are fully-funded (fees and maintenance) for UK students or provide fees only for EU students from outside the UK, subject to eligibility requirements. Further details about eligibility can be found at: https://epsrc.ukri.org/skills/students/help/eligibility/

To apply for this studentship, please send your two-page CV and covering letter to allwood-office@eng.cam.ac.uk to arrive no later than 31 January 2020.

Please note that any offer of funding will be conditional on securing a place as a PhD student. Candidates will need to apply separately for admission through the University's Graduate Admissions application portal; this can be done before or after applying for this funding opportunity. Note that there is a £65 fee for PhD applications. The applicant portal can be accessed via: www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/directory/egegpdpeg. The funding is conditional on submitting this application before 31 March 2020.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.